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Yang Safia On Friday, July 26, 2013
About two days ago, I had the opportunity to meet some of the 2014 Fellows at the Teach For Malaysia office. These people will be my comrades as we embark on this challenging (and fun) journey for the next 2 years. I can sense how passionate they are about the mission and let's hope this will be a life-changing journey for all of us!

So Teach For Malaysia threw an iftar (breaking fast for Ramadhan) event at their office. It was great to be back and meet my colleagues as well!

Disclaimer: This picture is not mine. It's Zizi's. Twinsies with Fareeza.

Mingling session with other Fellows.

We did a bit of mingling and later ushered to a briefing session about what to expect during Institute (it's a 2-month intensive teaching program) and the Fellowship.

Brian, Training Director, talked about what to expect during Institute. Of how it is going to be a safe environment for us to learn about teaching and how it will be different when we're on the Fellowship.

Ashaari talked about our placement and pre-Institute assignment.

Dzameer asked us about what sort of legacy do we plan to leave once we're done with the Fellowship. Also what sort of legacy we plan to leave as a cohort. Interesting stuff to think about.

Half of the 2014 Fellows. Most of us are still overseas. 

Overall it was a great experience to meet all these like-minded individuals. Also it takes the pressure of making friends during the first day of Institute! :P
Yang Safia On Sunday, July 21, 2013

Synopsis (taken from

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.


I decided to pick up the series on a whim after it kept on popping up on my Goodreads recommendation list. So far I've never gotten into the Faery genre because of my previous bad experiences with it before. I don't get why it is such a difficult genre to write about when I think it is quite similar to vampires and werewolves. It falls under Supernatural after all.

As I'm writing this review, I am almost done with the second book of The Iron Fey series. Just figured it would be a relevant information for you guys to know. I will try to keep my thoughts from being mixed up with my feelings about Book 2. So here we go...

Kagawa might be one of the best writers for the Faery genre to date. Now I haven't read much Faery books but compared to other writers, she gets my vote. Her writing style is vivid and the world she has created for the series is beautiful and scary. She manages to create a seamless connection between what we imagine the Faery world should be (beautiful, magical,etc) and the dangers that come with that world.

The plot is quite strong because you will definitely get a non-stop adventure with The Irong King. For a book of 300+ pages you wouldn't think that the plot could progress much but let me tell you, a LOT happens within those 300 pages. You can't help but heaved a huge "PHEW" by the end of it. If an adventure is what you're looking for, this is the book to read.


Now I probably will sound real harsh for this section. I've done a few reflections and this is what I came up with: My comments in this section really reveals what type of reader I am. What's my drive, what I look for in a book, etc. First off I'm very aware of this fact but I am a character-driven reader. It is crucial for me to be able to relate to the character in order for me to love the book.

Characters & Characterization

Therefore my biggest issue with The Iron King is the characterization of its characters. Kagawa has so much to work with and she blew it in the first book. I would even go as far to say that characterization is not exactly her forte. Her characters' lines are weak (ref: Puck) and their motives are questionable at times. There will be moments where you will go, "Why do you do that? That doesn't make sense!" so I do find myself frustrated quite often throughout reading this book. My beef is definitely with the main protagonist, Meghan because I started out liking her but her personality really challenges my patience with every page turned. To put it simply, she's dumb. End of story.

What I want to do to Meghan as I go through the book:

Because of this lacking aspect, some of the characters that you know you will love just go to waste. For example, Prince Ash and Puck can be lovable characters but blame Kagawa for lack of character development and lame lines. One character that I actually do love is Grimalkin. His characterization is quite tasteful compared to others.

Marketing & Romance

I have a problem with the marketing of the series. If you take a look at the cover, it really comes off as this story of a great forbidden romance. And for a reader who soaks up that kind of sh*t, naturally I would buy it because I expect to read that kind of story. However when I read the book, it wasn't focused on the romance but instead on saving Ethan. Which is cool but I felt cheated somehow because there's barely any substantial development between Meghan and Ash. There's barely any build up on their romance because before you know it, they're sucking each other's faces off which is soooooo weird. The romance feels really forced and that sucks because then you would start questioning the marketing of this book. I really think it should be under the Fantasy genre instead of Young Adult. Yes, there's always something supernatural about the YA books these days but The Iron King should really belong at the Fantasy section of the bookstore instead of YA. Just because the main character is sixteen doesn't mean the book should be in YA.

The thing about most YA books is that there's always the promise of a romance with a hot guy and often, the plot revolves around the main character trying to be with the guy. But that's not the case with The Iron King. Meghan wants to save her brother from the Faeries. Why not focus on that and let us readers just discover Ash by accident. Then it wouldn't be as bad. In fact I wouldn't have an issue about the lack of development between Ash and Meghan because I know that is not the main focus of the book.

Marketing FAIL!

PS: You can't expect me to be on Team Puck or Team Ash when Meghan barely interacts with the two of them. :/

Honestly Julie Kagawa can be at the level of Cassandra Clare in terms of having an awesome series but seeing that Clare kicks ass at creating awesome characters, then Kagawa loses this round. Her publisher should do her a favour and put her under the Fantasy genre instead.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Obsession Rating: 3 out of 5

Yang Safia On Friday, July 19, 2013

I'm currently working on a book review but for now, I just have intense feels for this. 
I can't. I just CAN'T!!! 

Yang Safia On Thursday, July 11, 2013
This is another overdue post but I had an opportunity to visit Pulau Ketam for a school visit during my internship. I was pretty oblivious to its existence and I've heard stories from my mum and colleagues about the place. Remote, dirty and language barrier are some of its descriptions. I refrained from any judgements and was pretty much all-in for this little adventure. My friend, Yin Li and I had to make it for a class at 10AM so the journey started quite early. I'm not very familiar with the KTM/LRT system  in Malaysia (because I'm ignorant like that) and we had to take a train to Port Klang (which I've never been to) so it was experience for me. I freaking enjoyed the whole journey to be honest. I really felt like a Malaysian for just going off quite spontaneously to travel to a place no one I know have been to. Sometimes I feel it is way better to get to know one's own home country and really discover the essence of your home than go travel some place foreign.

So after the train ride, we had to take an hour ferry ride to the island. It literally felt like I was in a foreign country once I stepped onto the ferry. There was a 90s Chinese karaoke song blasted and the overall vibe was very....exotic. Even Yin Li described the whole experience as if we're somewhere in the small islands in China. I'm not sure whether they are small islands in China but it really felt like that!

I may or may not had fist pumped to this song.

Myabe because I was under heavy meds that I felt we were seriously ballin' on the ferry ride. =_=

 A town on stilts.

Pulau Ketam is a fishing town/village(?) mainly populated by the Chinese community. Most people there can't speak Malay or English so Mandarin is main register here. Small alleyways such as the picture above populate the island and the best way I can describe this place is quaint. I really like the atmosphere and the place is actually really nice. It doesn't smell as bad as I thought it would be. Garbage disposal is a big issue here but I can see that there are community efforts to clean up the island on every other weekend.

Underneath the stilts are nothing but garbage. :(

There are a total of 4 Fellows at the only high school on the island. I managed to meet up with Priscilla, Mildred and Ken Ming and sat in for Priscilla's English class.

Cheeky kid is cheeky.

The biggest concern for the students in Pulau Ketam is definitely getting them interested in pursuing education in general. Seeing that most of them have never left the island and being totally separated from the outside world, most students aren't speakers of Malay and English. Realistically if they were to pursue other career opportunities, they aren't eligible due to these basic requirements. From a parents perspective for these kids, they don't see the need for their children to pursue higher learning because they can always continue the businesses they already own on the island. For the parents, as long as the kids can attain basic skills such as numeracy skills that are good enough to know how to balance the books for their business then it is good enough.

 Another thought that may come to your mind is how can these kids sit for SPM if they aren't fluent in Malay or English. The reality is well...most of them don't sit for SPM. Out of 200 SPM candidates in the school, only 12 of them sat for exam.

I don't want to end this post with such a sad fact but the one thing that this trip has taught me is to see beyond the bubble that I live in. The life and challenges that Malaysians who live outside of Kuala Lumpur are so different. Sometimes I find it infuriating how selfish some of us can be to assume what our country should need when the reality is, most of Malaysia are simply not ready for change.

I guess my thought process at the moment would be that if change or first world-ism is what you after, then do your part and help out other communities to be at par with what you are so that change can take effect.
Yang Safia On Friday, July 5, 2013
Last night was amazingly fun!

My new friend Shaff, whom I worked with at Teach For Malaysia, took the lead for my farewell dinner party but he figured it would be an awesome opportunity for all of his friends to gather. Apparently this guy is Mr Popular since he has so many different circles of friends. I really didn't expect to be co-host and to be honest, I was a pretty lame host anyway because I didn't do anything. Except dragging some of my friends along!

At one point, it felt like a mixer because some of us who will not be named are in it to meet perspective life partners. It was all too fun. Haha!

Complimentary food shot of what I ate last night.

Emeera looking so cheeky while Shaff...Typical. 

My partner-in-crime over the past 3 months. Ready to create havoc at Institute this coming October!

Sangeet Mithra! I find her name so purrdyyy. And a beautiful soul too.

Teach For Malaysia crew! Complimentary with the official hand logo! =_=

Teach for Malaysia interns FTW!

Noelle! I find her crazy for majoring in Math! BA in Mathematics. Can't get anymore legit than that!

My phone was clearly taken over by these two at some point.

The Hosts


As my dad calls us: My Orang Kampung sans Shira. 

My homie from Dunedin! Reunion!

Faces of Adam:


Sikit macam Bieber.

Both perspectives. SinSeanne was sharing her experiences in the US with Shaza.

This picture describes Shaff in a nutshell: Cheeseball with a surprising sweet centre!

2014 Teach For Malaysia Fellows: Safwan and I shared our worries and excitement over this 2-year journey we're both about to embark on this October.

The highlight of my night was definitely seeing my different circle of friends converged which made me see how small the world is. You seriously can't believe how many mutual friends all of us have! :O

PS: A lot of people who got the invite were confused over the title of the event. First of all, I didn't come up with the name as Shaff had full control of the planning. Some people thought we were getting engaged but trying to act all casual about it. Some thought it was a birthday party. Well some of us didn't mind the presents of course! HAHA!